PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -

I had just finished having dinner and catching up with an old friend when she asked a question that stopped me in my tracks.

We'd spent a relaxed couple of hours during which she shared her wish to get a new dog. It had been several years since her beloved Chihuahua, Brando, had gone to doggie heaven and she felt the time was right to find a new forever friend.

I was happy to hear that she had decided to rescue and adopt an older dog, and I offered to put her in touch with the shelters and rescue groups that could help her find the perfect match.

But just as we were saying our goodbyes for the night, she asked a question that sent my mind reeling. It was a question that had nothing to do with dogs, but yet everything to do with the lessons dogs can teach us.

"Would you like to go for ice-cream?" she asked.

Suddenly my mind responded with a few questions of its own ...

  • What about all the sugar?
  • Should you really be having ice-cream after 8 p.m.?
  • Won't you be bloated tomorrow morning?
  • Isn't ice-cream packed with empty calories
  • What if you suddenly realize you're lactose intolerant?

Luckily, I was able to stop my mind in its tracks with a question of my own.

  • What would Queenie do?

Queenie, for those of you who are new to my column, is my 14-year-old miniature Dachshund who thinks she's going on 2.

If given the choice between a tasty treat and keeping her girlish figure, there's no doubt which she would choose.

If you've ever tried to eat something in the presence of a dog, only to be met by a pair of "Are you going to eat that all by yourself?" set of eyes, you know what I'm talking about.

It's a lesson all pet parents should take to heart.

Why do we overthink things?

Why can't we be more like our dogs?

Have fun, move on and stop feeling guilty about it.

Now, I'm not advocating giving in to your dog's preference for treats over high quality food. But seriously, a treat here and there once in a while won't kill them ... or you for that matter.

It's that philosophy that has kept Queenie (who comes from a breed often known for being overweight) fit and trim her entire life.

As I thought about my 10-pound, spoiled rotten furry friend back home, ice-cream suddenly seemed like a great idea.

That's when another animal came to mind.

"I'll have the Moose Tracks," I told the guy behind the counter at Kilwin's. "And don't forget the sprinkles."